when it threw out a promotional examination for firefighters. The city was afraid of being
sued because not a single minority scored high enough to be promoted. They were following
Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act which stated that if you give a test which has a negative effect
on a minority group, the test is de facto discriminatory. This was a bad law. This was a law
demanding equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity. No one who took that test has
claimed it was biased or inappropriate or skewed in any way. The only claim was that
minority applicants did not do well enough. Maybe for the first time in my life I sided
with Scalia and Thomas in defending the test and the promotion of the white firefighters
who passed it.
The city of Oakland, California is considering raising taxes on medical marijuana
dispensaries to raise revenue for the city. The operators of the pot clubs were the ones
who suggested raising the tax. At the same time 60 Minutes reported that Mexican drug
cartels have made 35 billion dollars from the drug trade and use the money to pay for
arms and a small army to fight the Mexican and American governments. California is
considering legalizing and taxing marijuana, which could generate more than one billion
dollars in new tax revenue. For the first time polls show 50% of people in California favor
legalization. If California legalizes marijuana, it will have a domino effect across the nation.
What would the cartels do for money if American corporations ran the drug trade? Oh,
by the way, one of the biggest opponents of legalization is the association which represents
drug enforcement officers. Do you see any conflict of interest there?
June 30th is a new national holiday in Iraq. It is National Sovereignty Day. It is
the day the U.S. troops moved out of the Iraqi cities and turned over security to Iraqi
security forces. No one has any idea whether Iraqi security forces can maintain the uneasy
peace. Almost 5000 Americans died and more than 100,000 were wounded, and as many
as 1 million Iraqis are dead to get to this day. Is there anyone wiling to argue that it was
worth it? Oh, by the way, as many as 50 oil companies are bidding to get back into the Iraqi
oil fields after having been kicked out in 1972 by Saddam Hussein. There is no agreement
in place as to how oil revenues will be shared. Was this what it was all about from the
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, on more than one occasion, left the state
without telling anyone where he was, and failing to transfer power to the Lt. Governor.
His last disappearance was to "hike the Appalachian Trail", or rather to visit his mistress
in Argentina. This is the governor who refused federal bailout money for his state, claiming
that to accept the funds would be fiscally irresponsible. While the money would have gone
to schools and teachers, Sanford claimed it would be wrong to take it (many think this was
a ploy to build an image for a White House run). At the same time, he had traveled using
public funds on a trade mission to Argentina to see his mistress. He now says he will pay
that money back. His wife revealed that during months of marriage counseling, he asked
her a number of times if he could visit his mistress, and his wife said no (interesting marriage
counseling sessions). Now we find Republican stalwarts like Senator Lindsey Graham and
Rudy Giuliani saying Sanford should not resign if he can work out his marriage difficulties
with his wife. While I hope the Sanford's can save their marriage (in fact, I hope it is
stronger in the end than it is now), what on earth does his marriage have to do with whether
he resigns or not? Bill Clinton is still married to Hillary, and yet these same people called
for his resignation and voted to impeach him. What am I missing?
Speaking of hypocrisy and double standards, Nevada Senator John Ensign is a
member of Promise Keepers. It's an all men's Christian organization that encourages men
to be good husbands and to take the naturally dominant male role in marriage. He called
on Idaho Senator Larry Craig to resign when he was caught up in a gay sex scandal; he
called for Bill Clinton to resign after the Monica Lewinsky scandal was revealed; but since
it was revealed that he himself had an affair with a married woman who worked for him,
Senator Ensign has vowed to stay in office. Louisiana Senator David Vitter is one of Ensign's
most vigorous defenders. Is consistency still the hobgoblin of little minds?
When Senator John Kerry ran against George Bush in 2004, he was pilloried by
Bush/Cheney for voting against an $86 billion appropriation for the war in Iraq. Actually,
Kerry voted against it because it was a supplemental emergency appropriation, by-passing
the budget process. He eventually voted for the money, but was pounded relentlessly for
"not supporting the troops". Recently, the House passed a $106 billion appropriation for
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and the majority of the Republicans voted against it. They
didn't like the fact that it included money for the International Monetary Fund. Republicans
bristled at charges that their vote showed that they don't support our troops and put them
in harms way. What do you think Hannity/Limbaugh et. al. will do to them over that vote?
Is pragmatist a dirty word? President Obama is being described more and more
as a pragmatist. His tendency is to avoid ideology to get things done. He understands the
first lesson of politics; namely, half a loaf is better than none. This pragmatic bent has led
him to offend and disappoint much of his base. He has refused to end "Don't ask don't tell"
in the military services; and last week submitted a Friend of the Court brief to the Federal
Court defending the "Defense of Marriage Act" which prohibits gays from getting married.
He has refused to release torture pictures or to support investigation of illegal
activities in the Bush White House. He continues to use "national security" as an excuse
not to release more information on everything from illegal spying to warrantless wire-
tapping; and now the White House has refused to release visitor logs concerning who has
been coming to the White House for meetings (sound familiar?). He did not fight for
homeowners facing foreclosure who could have been protected in bankruptcy court; and
he has committed the nation to a war in Afghanistan that is not winnable. Is pragmatism
a good thing or a bad thing? What do you think? I welcome your comments or rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org